Reflections: The Collaborative Works of Scott Jensen & Courtney Lipson

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R EFLECTIONS The Collaborative Works of Scott Jensen and Courtney Lipson

Presented by Stoning ton Ga l ler y

REFLECTIONS The Collaborative Works of Scott Jensen and Courtney Lipson November 2017 In November we are proud to present a collaborative show between husband and wife Scott Jensen and Courtney Lipson (both Non Indigenous/Adopted Tlingit). Each artist is known on their own merits—Scott for his astonishing carving skill, and Courtney for her exquisite micro-mosaic beadwork—and the two have been working since late 2016 to bring their different, but complementary, skills to bear on masks, sculpture, and weavings. Scott Jensen is regarded by artists and collectors as a living master, and spent much of last year recreating a totem pole for an Alaskan Native village whose original pole had succumbed to the elements. Now, he brings his formidable knowledge of indigenous oral tradition and history, and his technical prowess to this joint exhibition, creating the sculptural forms onto which Courtney inlays her beading. Courtney Lipson is known primarily for her micro-mosaic jewelry, a process involving the smithing of her own settings in gold or silver, and the setting of tiny, individual glass seed beads in dazzling patterns. She has also expanded her practice to include micro-mosaic “paintings” on panel, where she uses beads of different sizes and textures to render a scene as if painting with the beads. She is also an accomplished weaver. Collaborations have a storied history in the art world. Making art is primarily a solo venture. Most often, the artistic process progresses from idea to manifestation almost silently, and an artist’s internal communication between mind and hands is the dialogue that inspires and manages the creation process. The give and take, exchange of ideas and pooling of talents that exists in other professions is not part of the daily life of an artist. In a collaboration, the concept for the work is mutually conceived, each artist’s skill finding a role within the work, like musicians in a jazz band. The work is strengthened and deepened by the skills and passions each individual brings to the work. The exhilaration is shared by artist and audience alike. The artist surrenders an element of control and gains access to the thrill and challenge of linking up with another’s hands, eyes, and unique outlook. A successful collaboration creates a work made possible because of the chemistry, communication, respect and techniques of the artists involved. Having worked side-by-side in their adjacent studios, and lived together as a married couple, these two know each other so well that the result is an exhibit of collaborative works that are unprecedented in concept and execution. They are inspired by their involvement in and passion for ancient Tlingit art, as well as their many trips up Alaska’s Inside Passage by boat. These works are master classes in what can be created after a lifetime devoted to learning, doing, thinking, teaching and setting the bar high.We are grateful to Scott and Courtney for devoting one year of their lives to creating this body of work, and a lifetime to making it possible. -Rebecca Blanchard and Nancy Davenport, Co-Directors of Stonington Gallery.

STONINGTON GALLERY Contemporary Masterworks of the Northwest Coast & Alaska 125 South Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98104 Located in Historic Pioneer Square • Open Daily • Celebrating 39 Years 206.405.4040 • Catalog photography by Ashley Genevieve. All works of art copyright Scott Jensen and Courtney Lipson Exhibition for sale exclusively through Stonington Gallery. Catalog © Stonington Gallery 2017 Cover image: detail of “Giving Praise for the Gifts from the Mountain Goat People”. This page: detail of “She Persists”.


here is a space humans carry within themselves…of peace, calm, knowledge and awareness. We physically manifest that inner space here at our home, nurturing with food, warmth, conversation and art. We follow the seasons, harvest food in our garden and in the wild; we connect to the land and care for how it is treated. Reflecting this life is the inspiration behind the art that we do. Our art is not work nor life, it is both those things and much more. We hold knowledge and were given gifts, knowing there is a responsibility that comes with those embers. We keep them lit and active through conversations and action, in giving and making. There is no greater joy than seeing the work of our hearts and hands open up that small space within a person, whether it is food, art, regalia, or clothing; the very detail in the work asks us to hold space and contemplate. Combining our art in a technical sense is a challenge of mediums, of method and style. Designing this exhibit began tentative and slow, with respect to each other and relying on our strengths. While Scott is knowledgeable in formline and carving, Courtney understands color and texture; both of us have an innate sense of storytelling with a sensitivity to the history behind the stories. Our self-given challenge in working together is to combine all of these things in pleasing, interesting, thought provoking ways. Our Tlingit, Haida, Lummi and Aleut family and friends have helped enrich our ability to do this, and we are grateful for their guidance and input. Patina is the life given to an object through care and use—it is irregular, and holds the richness of time in its surface. Scott starts the process, knowing and expecting that life is given to art when it is loved. It is meant to breathe, to take and give sustenance to the spirit and the heart. We intend this exhibit of our reflections to enable some of your own. -Scott Kadach’aakú Jensen & Courtney Tlaxaneís Lipson, 2017

The Cha’ak Naaxein (Eagle Robe) designed by Scott and woven by Courtney is danced by Fred Saat-Kaa Fulmer in this photograph. Doug Waugh, photographer and close friend, captured several milestones of our life: our wedding and adoption, the raising of Scott’s thirty-foot totem on Stuart Island, each of Courtney’s weavings. His impassioned photography is a rich and unique record of the lives he touched, places he and his wife Chloe French traveled, and his children’s legacy. We miss him deeply and honor his life with inclusion of his photo–with permission from his family–in our exhibit. Uncle Doug walked into the forest in June 2017.

A Raven Woman’s Bentwood Bowl Cedar, Pigments, Opercula, Micro-Mosaic 9”h x 9”w x 8”d

Shaman’s Song: Summoning His Spirit Helper

Octopus & Sculpin Spirits

Alder, Pigments, Micro-Mosaic 12”hx x9”w 8”w x 3”d 13”h x 5”d

Gunakadeit Headdress

Alder, Pigments, Micro-Mosaic 6”h x 10.5”w x 5.5”d

Center Right and Above: She Beckons

Yellow Cedar, Pigments, Micro-Mosaic 7.5”h x 7.5”w x 1”d

Top Left: She Persists

Yellow Cedar, Pigments, Micro-Mosaic 7.25”h x 7.25”w x 1.75”d

Center Left: Moonlight on the Nooksack

Yellow Cedar, Pigments, Micro-Mosaic 7.5”h x 7.38”w x .88”d

Bottom Right: She Sleeps at Dawn

Yellow Cedar, Pigments, Micro-Mosaic 7.5”h x 7.5”w x 2”d

“At times of low wind and no current in Southeast Alaska the reflection of land on water is perfectly symmetrical, leading us to ponder the symmetry in the art forms developed by the First Peoples of the coast. Combining realism with the abstract, we imagine the rocks along the shore expressing formline.�

Reflections Box: An Alaska Shoreline Red Cedar, Pigments, Micro-mosaic 11”h x 13”w x 8.5”d

“In the story of the berry picker, I imagine the instant in the story when the brown bear first appeared to the girl in his human form; the bear was able to present a reasonable caricature of being human but not able to completely disguise his true form. This mask is obviously asymmetrical, both sides containing human and bear elements, though his right side is more bear-like. I saw the bear trying to keep his human side facing the girl; showing the human hand decoration, the small human face and hands disguising his animal ear, and the more human appearance of that side of his face.”

Deceiving the Berry Picker: Xóots the Brown Bear Transforms Alder, Pigments, Opercula, Micro-Mosaic 13.5”h x 10.5”w x 6”d

Giving Praise for the Gifts f rom the Mountain Goat People

Alder, Pigment, Micro-Mosaic 14.5”h x 10”w x 5”d

Deceiving the Berry Picker: Xóots the Brown Bear Transforms Alder, Pigments, Opercula, Micro-Mosaic 13.5”h x 10.5”w x 6”d


Red Cedar, Pigments, Opercula, Micro-Mosaic, Goat Hair. Tináa Necklace: Copper, Glass Trade Beads, Pipestone, Jade and Shell Beads, Abalone. Naaxein Apron: Thigh-spun Sheep’s Wool and Cedar Bark Warp, Commercial Sheep’s Wool Weft, Alpaca/Wool “Fur”, Handcarved Silver “Dewclaws”. 59.5”h x 19”w x 6”d


The Collaborative Process

After an idea forms, Scott carves the basic mask, in this case out of yellow cedar.

A test board is used to try out micro-mosaic patterns and colors before adding them to Scott’s carvings. This helps determine how large a space Scott needs to carve for certain designs.

Scott meticulously prepares the surfaces for inlay to begin.

Micro-mosaic in progress. Beads are laid down in small groups and repositioned into epoxy, then later grouted with colored tile grout.

Brown Bear Maskette

Yellow Cedar, Pigments, Micro-Mosaic 8”h x 7.25”w x 2”d

Reflections on Formline

Western Red Cedar, Pigments 25.5”h x 11.5”w x .75”d each

Left: Gunakadeit Framed Micro-Mosaic 11.5”h x 9.5”w 2”d

Right: The Beader

Red Cedar, Pigments, Micro-Mosaic 7.75”h x 8”w x 5.5”d

Left: Aunties Are Watching - Naaxein Weaving

Thigh-spun Sheep’s Wool Warp, Commercial Sheep’s Wool Weft 13” x 15”

Left: Thankful Bracelet & Aunties Are Watching Bracelet Sterling Silver, Micro-Mosaic

Above: Naaxein Bag

Thigh-spun Sheep’s Wool and Cedar Bark Warp, Commercial Sheep’s Wool Weft

“In our lives we reflect the emotions and feelings of one another; our partnership relies on communication and observation. Our challenge is to be aware and process our emotions and thoughts with the other in mind. Our technical skill and knowledge of our materials have helped the process, while our genuine love and understanding of the forms we are working with inform the spirit of each piece.

In the twenty years we’ve known each other we’ve worked separately, supporting our journey together while sharing space. With a few collaborative works over the years we’ve pushed each other, stretching our individual growth while adapting to the medium of the other. This exhibit embodies over a year of working in tandem, problem solving together, trusting in the process and each other. It is a reflection of who we are, and our journey in an artful life.” -Scott Jensen & Courtney Lipson Wedding Feast Tray

Yellow Cedar, Pigments, Micro-Mosaic 2.5”h x 29.25”w x 7.88”d


125 South Jackson St. Seattle, WA 98104 206.405.4040

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